Place:Dunkeswell, Devon, England

Alt namesDoducheswellesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Duduceswillasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Abbeysource: hamlet and former abbey in parish
TypeAncient parish, Civil parish
Coordinates50.85°N 3.2°W
Located inDevon, England
See alsoHemyock Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred of which the parish was a part
Honiton Rural, Devon, Englandrural district 1894-1974
East Devon District, Devon, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dunkeswell (#13 on map) is a village and civil parish in the East Devon District in Devon, England, located about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the town of Honiton. At the 2001 UK census, the parish had a population of 1,553, reducing to 1,361 at the 2011 UK census. There is an electoral ward within East Devon with the same name but different boundaries whose population at the above census was 2,000. The parish is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Hemyock (formerly in Culmstock and Tiverton Rural Districts), Luppitt (#20), Combe Raleigh (#11), Awliscombe (#1), Broadhembury (#5) and Sheldon (#30).

Dunkeswell Abbey (now known as the hamlet of Abbey) is 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the village. The abbey was founded in 1201 by William Briwere as a Cistercian monastery and offshoot of Forde Abbey. The founder granted much property within Devon to the abbey. Around two years before his death in 1226, he entered the community and was eventually buried in front of the high altar of the abbey church.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries (circa 1539) the abbey was closed and granted to John Russell, 1st Baron Russell (1485–1555), later 1st Earl of Bedford, and was mostly demolished quickly, though a section remained in domestic use until the 19th century. In 1842, a parish church was built over part of the site. Some surviving fragments of monastery include the partial end wall of the cellarer's range and parts of a gatehouse. Some carved fragments survive within Holy Trinity Church which was built here in 1842 in Early English style.

Image:Honiton 2 small.png

Research Tips

(revised Jul 2021)

  • Ordnance Survey Map of Devonshire North and Devonshire South are large-scale maps covering the whole of Devon between them. They show the parish boundaries when Rural Districts were still in existence and before the mergers of parishes that took place in 1935 and 1974. When expanded the maps can show many of the small villages and hamlets inside the parishes. These maps are now downloadable for personal use but they can take up a lot of computer memory.
  • GENUKI has a selection of maps showing the boundaries of parishes in the 19th century. The contribution from "Know Your Place" on Devon is a huge website yet to be discovered in detail by this contributor.
  • Devon has three repositories for hands-on investigation of county records. Each has a website which holds their catalog of registers and other documents.
  • There is, however, a proviso regarding early records for Devon. Exeter was badly hit in a "blitz" during World War II and the City Library, which then held the county archives, was burnt out. About a million books and historic documents went up in smoke. While equivalent records--particularly wills--are quite easy to come by for other English counties, some records for Devon and surrounding counties do not exist.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom. The website has a handy guide to each of the parishes in the county and publishes the registers for each of the Devon dioceses on CDs.
  • This is the home page to the GENUKI Devon website. It has been updated since 2015 and includes a lot of useful information on each parish.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project which can be reached through GENUKI. Only about half of the parishes have a volunteer contributing local data. For more information, consult the website, especially the list at the bottom of the homepage.
  • Magna Britannia, Volume 6 by Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons. A general and parochial history of the county. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822, and placed online by British History Online. This is a volume of more than 500 pages of the history of Devon, parish by parish. It is 100 years older than the Victoria County Histories available for some other counties, but equally thorough in its coverage. Contains information that may have been swept under the carpet in more modern works.
  • There is a cornucopia of county resources at Devon Heritage. Topics are: Architecture, Census, Devon County, the Devonshire Regiment, Directory Listings, Education, Genealogy, History, Industry, Parish Records, People, Places, Transportation, War Memorials. There are fascinating resources you would never guess that existed from those topic titles. (NOTE: There may be problems reaching this site. One popular browser provider has put a block on it. This may be temporary, or it may be its similarity in name to the Devon Heritage Centre at Exeter.)